Catalyst Restaurant

4.5
1283 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary French / American
Catalyst Restaurant is a reflection of Chef/Owner William Kovel’s passion for simple food delivered with warm service in a modern environment. The Catalyst dining experience centers on bright, simple food created from the season’s freshest local ingredients, serious French technique and an appreciation for the details that go into our guest's experience. Catalyst Restaurant opened in 2011 as one of the pioneer businesses in Technology Square near the MIT Campus in Cambridge, MA. Since that time, an influx of start-ups and big companies that have made Catalyst a hub for business lunches, after-work gatherings and private dining.
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Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Contemporary French / American, Contemporary French
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Hours of operation
Brunch
Sun 10:30 am–2:30 pm
Lunch
Mon–Fri 11:30 am–2:30 pm
Dinner
Mon–Thu 5:00 pm–10:00 pm
Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–11:00 pm
Sun 5:00 pm–9:00 pm
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Phone number
(617) 576-3000
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
William Kove
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Catering
events@catalystrestaurant.com
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Main Street
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Parking details
We validate parking at Technology Square Garage (800 Technology Square)
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Public transit
Red Line Kendall/MIT
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Special events & promotions
For parties of 11 guests or more, we require a prix-fixe menu in our dining room. For parties of 17 guests or more must book with our Private Event Coordinator at events@catalystrestaurant.com
Additional
Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Fireplace, Full Bar, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access

Private Dining

Beautiful custom weddings, rehearsal dinners, showers, & post nuptial brunches. Seamless planning, award winning modern American cuisine & flawless execution

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What 1283 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.4
service
4.4
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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DW
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 1food 1service 2ambience 3

The waiter was very nice but not effective. I sat and waited almost 10 minutes before anyone came to the table. (He was chatting with someone at another table). Three of the menu items we asked for during lunch were not available. This should have been made clear up front. The service throughout was painfully slow. NONE of our food was hot. I had an omelette; eggs should be served HOT. The home fries were WAY overcooked and shriveled. Overall the food was less than mediocre. I had previously gone to a bridal shower at Catalyst and thought the food was really good so I brought friends back for brunch on Sunday. I will NEVER return. Nor could I recommend this restaurant. There are too many others with really good food and better service.

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n
New England
2 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 5

I was excited because the space is so lovely. The food was a little pricey, but I still wasn't prepared to get a kale salad for lunch for $14 that really wasn't a meal unless I ordered a protein for another $8. $22 is more than I want to pay for a lunch entree. And on another visit I got fish tacos that had a piece of fish the size of my thumb in each of the very diminutive two tacos, making my $14 lunch mostly the french fries. So not a good value in my book. As for service, our server brought us coffee with sugar but never asked about milk and didn't bring any. And then the server didn't understand that my colleague had a seafood allergy, even though she told him (another colleague had a milk allergy and he got confused with the two). He brought her falafel that she could tell were deep fried in the same oil as fish so she couldn't eat it.

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C
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic food in a fantastic atmosphere. The food was rich with flavor.

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OT
1 review
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Always amazing, being in this industry it’s always great to go to a restaurant and receive amazing service and wonderful food. Very hard to find places that give you both. Great job!

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m
Toronto
4 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

A fairly swank place, ultra-modern but comfortable decor. My only quibble is that the bar did not have the gin I wanted.

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HD
New England
18 reviews
Dined on November 20, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

This was the first time at Catalyst. All was fine / ok. Nothing spectacular. Good basic spot to have a pleasant business meeting.

Ordered a pulled pork sandwich - a bit dry and tasteless.

Service was fine.

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o
New England
1 review
Dined on November 20, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Convenient to Tech Square. Reasonable menu with choices,

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n
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on November 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Can't say enough about Catalyst. Despite making a last minute reservation they could not have been more accommodating with a member of our party that needed disability accommodations. Really terrific!

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JE
New England
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

Our appetizers were great (beat salad and a half portion of the linguine) but my entree (chicken) and dessert (pumpkin panna cotta) were bland and underwhelming. Our server also disappeared for long periods of time. Ambiance was OK, but looked a little temporary, like a pop-up restaurant. Not worth a second trip.

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D
New England
51 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 2

It was an incredibly busy Wednesday evening, so loud that it was almost impossible to have a conversation, even in a booth. Servers seemed stressed from the crowd, such that (1) they cleared the plates for the three diners who had just finished, while the fourth was still eating; and (2) did not split the bill as promised when we ordered. But, it’s the raucous noise level that will keep us away from Catalyst.

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BF
New England
12 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

I've been here a few times with friends, but last night, I brought my girlfriend and it was her first time there. Everything was delicious! We ordered beet salad, sweet potato cavatelli and linguine. We also had roasted sunchokes (compliments of the chef) and our dessert was complimentary because our food was taking a while even though, we felt like we weren't waiting too long. The sunchokes were AMAZING. Whatever aioli was in the dish paired really well with the crispy sunchokes. This should be a regular thing on the menu. The cocktails were fantastic and so was our waitress. (Wish I remembered her name!) Thanks for a great meal. Will def. recommend to friends and family. P.S. You guys should totally bring back the milk chocolate hazelnut mousse bar. That was my favorite and I didn't see it on the dessert menu :-(

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E
New England
42 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Nice restaurants that is suitable for business meetings. Quiet enough that allows a good conversation. The waitstaff was not overbearing but attentive. The food was good

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AW
New England
1 review
Dined on October 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

I've been here often - many times with visitors to MIT and at least once every year for a dinner with some close friends (that was the occasion this time). Food is always good (Tuna Tartare, Salmon, and Swordfish this time), and the wine list is quite well put-together, with some reasonable values.

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OT
New England
6 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 5ambience 3

Service was great, food shockingly bad. Porcini soup came out room temperature and needing salt (they do not have salt and pepper on tables). Fall vegetable salad was flavorless, vegetables were mushy. With the ambiance and friendly service, it was strange to be so disappointed by the food!

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M
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Always a great option when in Cambridge. Consistently good food and service.

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z
1 review
Dined on October 22, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Good food, great service, a bit overpriced for the small past dishes.

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JR
New England
14 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

We had a very pleasant lunch at Catalyst. The food was well prepared, but not exceptional. The service was great and very prompt.

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AS
New England
1 review
Dined on October 16, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 2

Music was way too loud. Great vibe and good music (top 40, 90's pop), but even after I asked that it be turned down, the 4 of us at our table had to talk pretty loud to hear each other.

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M
New England
9 reviews
Dined on October 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always can get a great meal and wonderful value.

Very creative food. At this event, they provided us with a private beer tasting when the larger event was cancelled - very nice!!!!

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CT
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Catalyst was a great restaurant with a creative and delicious menu, great bar, and top notch service. We're definitely going back!

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BP
New England
18 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

excellent in all respect (food, service, atmosphere).
New menus often.
Ideal for business meals, but also foodies.

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S
Tulsa
2 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 2

The brunch menu on open table was completely different than what was offered on the brunch menu in the restaurant. Our food was fine, but nothing memorable or worth eating/drinking again. I wouldn’t go back nor would I recommend it.

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DC
New England
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I always enjoy the pasta specials, the roasted blue cod and the burgers are favorites. Very good bar with ample seating for after work.

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OT
New England
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and great service! Nice place to go for lunch.

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KS
New York Area
21 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

Great space and bar. Service for dinner was a bit slow

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OT
New England
9 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

I like Catalyst. What keeps me from saying "love" is not the service or the atmosphere, which are great. Its the menu that I think needs more and also less expensive options. Also, the music was a bit loud when I was last there, making it tricky (depending on where you sit) to have a business meeting over lunch.

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OT
New England
2 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2018
Overall 4food 1service 4ambience 4

Fish tacos were appalling. They used to be good, what happened... :)

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h
Minneapolis
5 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good place for business dinner

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b
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was outstanding, especially the octopus appetizer and the sea scallops entree.

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OT
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on September 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent service and cuisine, abundantly fresh and balanced, each bite delicious. Highly recommend.

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R
New England
6 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent, and our two guests concurred.

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MD
1 review
Dined on September 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Service was the perfect balance of attentiveness and friendliness without getting in the way of us having a business conversation. Our server made excellent recommendations on food and wine, and I love the daily Rose feature! perfect for a hot summer day in Boston. Will definitely go again.

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MH
New England
5 reviews
Dined on September 4, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

We really enjoy the feel of this place. The food is generally fine, however was less impressive during our last visit. Desserts are average. My personal bugbear is overzealous staff eager to remove dishes while I am still chewing on the last bite.
Anyway would still recommend Catalyst and will definitely return.

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RW
New England
36 reviews
Dined on September 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and drinks are always impeccably prepared and interesting. Their menu doesn’t change much over time. That’s my only negative.

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d
New England
16 reviews
Dined on September 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent scallops, cooked perfectly. Also good burger and appetizer of Shishito peppers.

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OT
New England
40 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Another terrific meal, with attentive and nice servers. I have never had an experience here that has been other than excellent - and the Oreo ice cream is to die for!

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j
New England
36 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a good meal at Catalyst. Went here for a work dinner, a colleague was a bit late but his meal arrived the same time as the rest of the table. Good service!

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BD
New England
28 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

This is my third time at Catalyst. Every time the food has been very good overall, with some dishes being excellent. Service is polished and non-intrusive. The decor is artistic and the restaurant is spacious, which is good, because at peak dinner hour it can get crowded. The price is fair given the quality.

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BG
New England
13 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 4

Fine for lunch.

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D
New England
9 reviews
Dined on August 20, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

We have been to Catalyst a number of times over the past two years and have always enjoyed our experience - the food, ambiance, everything. Which is why we felt confident that this time would be great as well.

But it wasn't. My wife and I each ordered the seafood pasta. The plates were hot, but the pasta itself was tepid at best -- sort of like they took some that had been lying around and figured that it would get warmer if they served in a hot plate. But the pasta was also quite dry, like maybe it had been re-warmed. When we've had pasta at Catalyst in the past, it was served hot, moist and very tasty. But this time the pasta had little flavor, and the dish itself had only a few very small bits of what must have been seafood. Salt and pepper made it a bit tastier, but I normally don't put either on my food except where absolutely necessary, as was the case here.

We've had some very good meals at Catalyst so this was a real disappointment. Maybe they were having a bad night. But having dropped $140 on what was a mediocre meal at best, it may be a while before we give this place another go.

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